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Species depend on your yard and you

That’s the goal of Pirate’s Cove’s Pigs & Pearls Fundraiser to benefit the West & Rhode Riverkeeper

Atlantic ribbed and hooked mussels are Chesapeake’s Brita filter

Take another guess or two

Scott Sylte stands firm for his service dog

As the sun dips into the Bay at the Calvert County marina where he lives, 59-year-old Scott Sylte stares into the Chesapeake. He likes an angry sea. With salt-and-pepper beard and a skipper’s cap, he more closely resembles a sea captain than the human rights champion he is.     He doesn’t like the word activist — but it fits him.     Politics was just a subject when Sylte was a liberal arts major at the University of Pennsylvania. But a few...

What shall Maryland Therapeutic Riding call this blue-eyed filly?

The stork visited Maryland Therapeutic Riding in Crownsville on April 30. A blue-eyed pinto mini filly — the smallest and youngest member of the farm’s herd — needs a name. The birth was a surprise; her mother Beauty was plump when purchased, but vets and staff alike believed all she needed was a diet.     Maryland Therapeutic Riding uses the healing and therapeutic power of horses to improve the balance, strength, muscle tone, self-image, self-confidence and...

From Tasmanian devil to Teddy bear

You never know what temperament a dog may bring with him. I was so in love with Teddy, a Pomeranian-Papillon mix, that I figured I could deal with any little problems that came with this five-and-a-half-year-old rescue from death row at a pound in Baltimore.     He didn’t like children, I was told. He was touchy about being touched on his rear quarter, and he didn’t like raised voices.     No problem. We were just two old retirees, the ideal couple...

Celebrate the release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with a toy, not a turtle

It may surprise you to know that 99.9 percent of turtles have little to no ninja skills. Yet thousands of small turtles have already been purchased for children by parents anticipating the release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. On the eve of the film’s release, Maryland Natural Resources Police begs parents to stick to reptilian action figures and skip buying baby turtles.       “These tiny animals aren’t toys, and they require a commitment to keep them...

Cinema worth barking about

I’m the Movie­goer’s favorite companion for movie night, so she enlisted me to to recommend the 10 best movies of the animal kingdom. Enjoy! –Boss, the Cinema Collie 10. The Rescuers Down Under 1990 • G • 77 mins. The rare case of a sequel that is superior to the original, The Rescuers Down Under chronicles the continuing adventures of Bianca and Bernard, brave mouse agents of the Rescue Aid Society. The mice must save an Australian boy kidnapped because he...

Conowingo eels might just be one of the most important species in our waters

The only eel I have seen in the last 20 years was on sushi.     That changed in a big way as I gazed at a tank teeming with the wriggling creatures.     “We call them pencil eels; they’re about four inches long,” said my guide, Ian Park of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. At the base of the Conowingo dam on the Susquehanna River, we were tending to an experiment that could unlock a key to restoring Bay water quality. Park’s job was to...

It takes work to live together in a peaceable interspecies kingdom

Oh the trouble love brings!         Just about any time your heart runs away with you, you run up a debt you’ll be paying for day, hours, years. By a certain age, we homo sapiens are supposed to know (but do we ever?) about the birds and the bees. But a dog or cat can slip under the radar, fooling us into believing that all interspecies matches are made in heaven.     When reality hits, you’d rather have a pie in the face than a foot in...

Organic matter adds ­hidden benefits to soil

Addition of organic matter does great things for soil. It works as a slow-release fertilizer and source of essential nutrients. It reduces the density of heavy silt and clay loam soils. It improves soil’s nutrient retention and increases water retention. All of these benefits redound to plant growth. Retention of nutrients     Adding organic matter to soils increases the retention of nutrients and makes them available to the roots of plants. This process is known as...

How many losers does it take to save the universe?

The night Peter Quill’s mother died, he was abducted by aliens. Twenty years later, Peter (Chris Pratt: The LEGO Movie) remembers Earth by a troll doll and his mother’s Walkman. He travels the galaxy scavenging rare treasures from abandoned planets, listening to a mix tape of his mother’s favorite tunes.     On a treasure run, he steals an orb from an abandoned building. Suddenly, he’s the target of a galaxy-wide manhunt. Turns out the orb will help the...

Still time to escape in a good book

     With half of summer stretching before you, there’s still time to get lost in a good book.     Armchair travelers stretch our confined worlds with books that take us places we’ll probably never see on our own. Certainly not with the open-eye and open-heart clarity of the ­writers we love best.     Tell us about a book that’s transported you to a world outside your time and space. That was my request to a couple dozen...